The Storytelling Techniques Behind the Blues Genre
Origin of the genre
Blues originated in the deep south, among cities such as New Orleans, Memphis and St. Louis. The conception of the Blues genre dates back to the 1890’s, that chronicles the stories of black life, and serves as a direct response to Jim Crow Laws. Having just recently visited New Orleans for the first time, I saw first hand the culture that produced the genre, and it is no surprise how blues was founded in a place like it. New Orleans is a myriad of culture and experience that ends up producing a people with a profound connection to soul.
Elements of the Genre
This genre as previous noted, when explaining the origin is about a connection to the soul. Its about composing pieces that come straight from real experience and the heart. Blues often conveys this feeling of being completely and utterly heartbroken. A far cry from easy black composer who were often known for single happy-go-lucky pieces that were known to cater to white audiences. Unlike the cheery songs of past genres, blues was not defined for commercial appeal, it was the use of improvisation, harmonies, down tempo, the blue note, and the blue form, all wrapped up in a fusion of European and African elements, Black people again created a genre that would have another lasting reaction through music.
Blues being conceived as a direct result of Jim Crow laws in the south was a testament to the time in which black people were forced to under the hand of white supremacy. By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, almost every black community had a theatre. These theatre were important because they provided a a means of support for black artists and a way for them to express their art for their own communities rather than just performing for the benefit of white attendees.
This past weekend as I visited New Orleans for the first time I heard many artists performing the works of Muddy Waters. Although he is known as “the father of Chicago Blues”, the timbre of Muddy Waters still reverberates through the city as one of the quintessential voices of the genre. Water expend the scope of the genre even past the southern appreciation. Muddy Waters helped make blues mainstream, while keeping the integrity of the genre in tact.
Commodification & Influences on other Genres
Blues like all of the other genres we’ve studies in our Survey of American American music crated a kinetic effect throughout the music industry, influencing not just black artists to come later, but as well as white artist who profited and capitalist off of the lucrative nature of the blues genre. Blues became widely popular across the country through its white equivalent of country music in the 1920’s, fueled by the depression.
Influences on later genres
Blues had a lasting impact on american music and culture that transcended its height of popularity in the genre. You can hear the effects of bugs in later genres such as rock music. Rock music, R&B, co-opted the style and harmonies of the blues genre and made it into something new. But at the core the template of the Blues style still shines through.
After visiting New Orleans for the first time I can see why it is one of the founding places for the genre. The city lends itself to the land, and tells the stories of the people in a way that only the south can properly due justice. There is a raw and soulful nature that having grown up in LA one doesn’t get the opportunity to appreciate first hand very often. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsHFFIAzEpw[/embedyt]